系统文章 类别:英文 时间:2010-07-01 00:00:00
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With Christmas just around the corner, every country celebrates it by various
ways. In China, Christmas is not generally celebrated for religious purposes.
Instead, December 25 has become a big occasion for promotion and fun. The idea
of exchanging gifts seems to appeal strongly to young Chinese. The tradesmen
have come to specializing Christmas just as western shops have done. Several weeks
before the day itself, stores begin shouting about Christmas. There are
decorations and wonderful displays of appropriate gifts. Many western customs
in observing Christmas have been adopted by the Chinese. Besides exchanging
gifts on Christmas Day, people get together to hold parties in fancy restaurants
and cafes where Christmas carols are sung. There are a number of Christmas
customs that are uniquely Greek. After 40 days of fasting, the Christmas
feast is anticipated. Pigs are slaughtered and on every table there are loaves
of "ChristBread." Christmas trees are not commonly used in Greece. In almost
every home the main symbol of the season is a shallow wooden bowl with a piece
of wire-suspended across the rim; from that hangs fragrant herb wrapped around
a wooden cross. Water is kept in the bowl to keep the herbs alive. Everyday,
the mother uses the cross and herbs to sprinkle water in each room. This ritual
is believed to keep the house safe. Gifts are exchanged on January 1. Christmas
is special to the majority of Australians for it is summer holiday season and
for students it means an end to school studies and the beginning of sun, surf
and shopping. Traditional dinners have been replaced with family gatherings in
backyards, or picnics in parks and gardens. A typical Christmas menu could
include sea food, cold chicken or turkey, pasta and desserts. The Christmas
feast, in Denmark, is celebrated at midnight Christmas Eve. Everyone looks
forward to dessert when a special rice pudding is served in which a single
almond is hidden. Whoever finds the almond will have good luck for the coming
year. Children leave out saucers of milk or rice pudding for Santa Claus and
are delighted to find the food gone next morning. On Christmas Eve, Iraqi
Christian families gather together and one of the children reads about the birth
of Jesus while others hold lighted candles. After the reading, a bonfire of
thornbushes is lit and everyone sings. If the thorns turn to ash, good luck
will arrive in the coming year. When the fire dies out, each person jumps over
theashes three times and makes a wish. Saint Nicholas is especially popular
in Russia. Nicholas is one of the most common names for boys. Christmas Eve
dinner is meatless but festive. The most important ingredient is a special
porridge called kutya. It is made of wheat or other grains which symbolize hope
and immortality, and honey and poppy seeds, which ensure happiness and success.